'This is the proudest day of my life'
Parveez Rasool, the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play in the Indian Premier League, has called his debut for Pune Warriors the "proudest day" of his life.
"This is the proudest day of my life. And the whole of Jammu and Kashmir was watching the match and I am proud of that. I feel really great. First of all, thanks to Almighty Allah, I have made it this far. It feels really nice to get an opportunity in the IPL and to be able to perform at this level," Rasool told IPLT20.com.
After spending time on the bench for 12 matches, the 24-year-old batting all-rounder finally found a place in the playing eleven of Pune Warriors in their match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.
Rasool, who replaced leg-spinner Rahul Sharma to earn his maiden IPL cap, bowled an economical four-over spell, giving away 23 runs and claiming the prized scalp of Jacques Kallis.
Image: Parveez Rasool
'Dedicate my debut performance to Jammu & Kashmir'
"I would like to dedicate my debut performance to the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir and all the well-wishers all around India," he said.
"Jacques Kallis is definitely a legend; the best all-rounder in cricket. So, it felt really good to get his wicket. Kallis's wicket was something truly special for me," he added.
The off-spinner said he was nervous initially, but Yuvraj Singh helped soothe his fraying nerves.
"Yes, the first couple of balls I was nervous. Then Yuvi paaji (Yuvraj Singh) came over to me and helped me settle down. I came to know this morning (that I am part of the playing XI) and I was really happy and excited at the prospect of playing. I was training real hard for whenever I would get the chance to play for Pune Warriors. And I wanted to make sure I grabbed that chance with both hands," Rasool said.
Rasool said he considers himself a bowling all-rounder."Currently, I consider myself a bowling all-rounder. But, when I started out, I was a batting all-rounder. However, I bat well too."
Image: Parvez Rasool
'I hope I play well enough to play for India some day'
"But it depends on the chances I get to bat. I did get to face a few balls (against KKR), and it felt good to be out there in the middle. I will surely rise up to the batting challenge as well when I get a chance," he said.
Rasool said his ultimate target is to don national colours one day.
"Now my goal is to ensure I play well in every match I get to play. I want to do well for the team and for myself. I hope I play well enough to play for India some day."
The unassuming player from the valley shot to fame with a seven-wicket haul against the visiting Australians while playing for the Board President's XI earlier this year.
Rasool, a day ahead of his 24th birthday, spun a web around the Aussies with impressive figures of seven for 45 for the Board President's XI on a pitch that offered the slow bowlers assistance.
Image: Parveez Rasool